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Celebration of life June 5th for Renee Amundson Rundle, 1937-2016

May 27, 2016 9:54 pm
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 |   Obituaries | West Seattle news | West Seattle people

Family and friends will gather on June 5th to celebrate the life of Renee Rundle, 79. Her family is sharing this tribute, remembering her as a woman of “many talents”:

Renee Marion Amundson Rundle passed away peacefully on April 28, 2016 after a valiant battle with multiple illnesses.

She was born in North Dakota on February 11, 1937 to Julia and Gerhard Amundson. While she was still quite young the family moved to Seattle, Washington. Renee attended West Woodland Elementary School, James Monroe Middle School and graduated from Ballard High School in 1955. She married Clayton Rundle in 1956 and they welcomed their daughter Michelle into their family in 1968.

She graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Washington. Throughout her career she worked for PR firms including Bernhagen & Associates and Ehrig & Associates. She also was the Editor for the Alki News. Most recently she worked as the Volunteer Coordinator for Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle.

Renee had many talents. In her younger years she was an accomplished majorette, a member of the Ballard High School and All City Band, and on her high-school yearbook staff. Later in life she pursued many interests including traveling, sailing, playing on a softball team, and studying the universe, meditation, and art. She loved writing and poetry and dreamed of having her poems published. She was also passionate about her community and not afraid to speak up if something needed to be addressed, as she often did for Alki. Though her physical health limited her at times, her spirit was strong and she was always seeking and open to new adventures.

Renee is survived by her daughter Michelle Rundle, sisters Gwen Cleveland (Arne) and Janet Woodfield (Ed), and multiple nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Please gather with us to celebrate her life at 3:00 PM, Sunday, June 5, in the Fellowship Hall of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, 2400 NW 85th St, Seattle. Per her wishes, please also come dressed in brightly colored party clothes. In lieu of flowers, donations to your favorite charity in her honor are welcome.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

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West Seattle Junction Association executive director Susan Melrose leaving after 9+ years

You might not ever have met Susan Melrose – but if you’ve been in West Seattle any length of time, you’ve probably enjoyed the results of her work, maybe without realizing it. She is the executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association – which in addition to being the merchants’ association also deals with events and issues big and small, in and affecting the heart of WS – and it’s just been announced that after almost a decade, she’s leaving WSJA:

It is with great appreciation that the West Seattle Junction Association announces the resignation of Susan Melrose, Executive Director. Susan provided more than 9 years of service to the organization, during which her steadfast leadership and strong sense of community helped the business district to flourish. The West Seattle Junction Association wishes her well in her future endeavors and thanks her for her dedication and guidance.

Susan has lived in West Seattle since 1998 and has brought her passion for the neighborhood into every aspect of her work. Her accomplishments include building Junction Plaza Park, creating the Harvest Festival, producing ten years of West Seattle Summer Fest, defining The Junction’s brand and increasing its reach, contributing to the creation of new public art, and acting as a conduit between The Junction businesses and greater community.

“Working with the community and touching on so many exciting projects has been a tremendous opportunity. West Seattle is a neighborhood of passionate and action-oriented people. I’ve enjoyed learning from the community and will continue to admire the dedication of our neighborhood.” Susan says. “While I am taking a new job, I will continue to enjoy The Junction on my days off!”

Susan will stay with the Junction Association through West Seattle Summer Fest. Her past professional background in environmental conservation will be put to work in her new position as the Director of Operations at Washington Wild.

Having worked with Susan while co-sponsoring many Junction events in the past eight-plus years, including Summer Fest (July 8-10 this year!) and Hometown Holidays, we will miss her, and we wish her much success in her new adventure. (WSB photo at above left, from Summer Fest 2014)

Celebration of life June 18th for Erich ‘Rick’ Lauffer, 1956-2016

Family and friends will gather June 18th to celebrate the life of Rick Lauffer. Here’s the remembrance that’s being shared with the community:

West Seattle resident Erich “Rick” Robert Lauffer passed away on May 8, 2016, following complications from pneumonia.

Rick was born in Lakewood, Ohio, on January 20, 1956, the son of the late Florence B. and Erwin M. Lauffer. He is survived by his life partner of 40 years and wife Lucy Woodworth and beloved son Eli Lauffer. Rick is also survived by his siblings Erwin A. “Stuffy” (Linda Kensicki), Judith Touré (Roy Briere), Peter, Timothy (Kim), his brothers-in-law, Mark (Randi) and Paul (Lisa), and 14 nephews and nieces.

Rick studied art and literature at Western College of Miami University in Ohio, where he and Lucy met. They spent several happy years in Cincinnati, where he worked for Instant Replay Film and Video Productions as a 3D animator.

Rick was a talented artist who expressed his creativity in multiple mediums. Some of his art may be found at his website. There, he wrote, “An artist’s eye transfers to any tool once mastered.”

In 1991, Erich, Lucy, and Eli moved to Seattle. Rick worked as a 3D animator with Pinnacle Post before becoming a freelance artist and later a co-owner with Lucy in their motion graphics business, Lucy Woodworth Design. But his greatest joy came from his family and his role as Eli’s father. He treasured their time together.

Family and friends are welcome to stop in to remember Rick at a memorial celebration of his life on Saturday, June 18th between 2 pm and 4 pm at Duos Lounge, 2940 SW Avalon Way in West Seattle. There will also be a memorial in his hometown of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on Saturday, August 6th. Donations in Rick’s memory may be made to NAMI Seattle.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

West Seattleite on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ tonight


Game-show alert: Contestants on “Wheel of Fortune” tonight (7 pm, Channel 4) include a West Seattle resident, Peter Murray. Peter’s spouse Kelly Murray sent the photo and tells WSB: “This is his second game show appearance; he was on ‘Jeopardy’ in April 2009! He’s had a long career in non-profit work (United Way of King County, JDRF, now Red Cross), but his training as an actor and his love of the New York Times crossword puzzle make him a pretty great game-show contestant.” So, how’d he do? No spoilers here; you’ll just have to watch.

Remembering Carla de Vrieze, 1972-2016

Family and friends are remembering Carla de Vrieze, who died last week at 43, and sharing this announcement with the community:

Carla Y. de Vrieze passed away May 16, 2016, surrounded by her family.

Carla was born October 6, 1972, in the Netherlands. Moving to the US as a young child, she lived with her family in Arlington and Winchester, Massachusetts, attending Winchester High School and High Mowing School in Wilton, NH. After earning her Associate’s Degree from Johnson and Wales University College of Culinary Arts, Carla moved and spent a few years in Chevy Chase, Maryland, before settling in West Seattle, near her brother’s family, in 1999.

Carla’s creativity and passion for the culinary arts were an important part of her personal and professional life; in cooking for others, she found joy. Carla was preceded in death by her father, Theo de Vrieze. She is survived by her mother, Joan de Vrieze, her brother Martin de Vrieze (Heather), and nephew Jake de Vrieze, all of West Seattle. She is also survived by countless aunts, uncles, cousins around the country and the world.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to SANCA, the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, an organization which brings joy and inclusion to so many children of all abilities (674 S. Orcas Street, Seattle 98108 or sancaseattle.org/support/give-today).

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Remembering Raymond W. Tofteland, 1964-2016

Family and friends will gather June 18th to celebrate the life of Raymond W. Tofteland, who died a week ago. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing now:

Raymond (Ray) Wayne Tofteland died peacefully in his sleep May 8, 2016 in Seattle at the age of 51 from complications of renal disease.

Raymond was born August 7, 1964, in Minot, North Dakota, to Lawrence (Larry) and Eileen Tofteland. His family moved to Seattle in 1968. He attended Arbor Heights Elementary School, Denny Middle School and graduated in 1983 from Rainier Beach High School. He married his high-school sweetheart Melissa Whipple in 1991, and rejoiced when their beloved daughter Ashlee was born in 1994. While Raymond and Melissa divorced in 2005, they remained good friends. As his health declined, he moved in with Melissa and Ashlee, who took care of him.

As a boy, Raymond started earning money by mowing lawns. After graduating, he worked for La Mexicana making tortillas. In 1989 he started working at the Jefferson Square Safeway in West Seattle. Many years later, he transferred to a University District Safeway. He was on medical leave for the past two years, but was a Safeway employee for 27 years.

Raymond loved to fish (especially at Ilwaco), camp, go on road trips and barbecue. He spent many happy hours teaching Ashlee to make a campfire and to fish. He loved hanging out with friends and family around campfires, on his sister’s boat or just at home.

Raymond was preceded in death by his father Lawrence (Larry) Tofteland. Left to mourn are his daughter Ashlee Tofteland; his mother Eileen Tofteland; his ex-wife Melissa Tofteland; his brother Mark Tofteland; his sister Melissa (Missy) Speer-Tofteland; his nephews Gabe, Levi, and Luai; and his nieces Tara, Amanda, Jameila, and Sophia.

Letters of condolence may be sent to the Toftelands at 10441 57th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98178.

A celebration of life will be held June 18th in Olympia. Please call or text 206-913-7148 for more information or check Facebook for the “Celebration of Life for Raymond Tofteland” event.

Raymond’s last wish was for his remains to be taken to North Dakota, where his father is buried. Please consider donating to help make this final trip with his daughter a reality at gofundme.com/raymondtofteland

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

UPDATE: Missing girl back home

8:50 AM: We have word the missing girl is back home.


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SUNDAY: Carol-Ann Thornton tells her SouthWest Stories @ SW Library

May 14, 2016 7:27 pm
|    Comments Off on SUNDAY: Carol-Ann Thornton tells her SouthWest Stories @ SW Library
 |   West Seattle history | West Seattle news | West Seattle people

Sunday afternoon at 3 pm, come to the Southwest Library to find out something you probably didn’t know about West Seattle history. You’ll hear it from Carol-Ann Thornton, whose video invitation, below, is provided by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society:

Thornton will talk – with you, not at you, as she said in the video – about “Culture Shock: The Awakenin of Alki and West Seattle in 1962 and Beyond.” It’s the latest chapter of the SouthWest Stories series, co-presented by SWSHS and SPL; her stories include her experience as the first African-American student at Alki Elementary. The event is free, and everyone’s welcome; SW Library is at 35th SW/SW Henderson.

Successful start for new West Seattle Motorcycle Club


The photo shows the turnout for the first ride-in of the new West Seattle Motorcycle Club, courtesy of Glenn Bell, who explains, “A couple of us here in the Admiral ride together and we thought it would be great to meet others that ride as well. We thought we would give it a go and start the West Seattle Motorcycle Club!” Last night was their first “ride-in”; they plan to do it every second Tuesday, hosted by Pizzeria 22 in Admiral. Glenn added, “As of now, we really are just about meeting folks in the area that share a similar interest in motorcycles.” Interested in joining? Check out their Facebook group.

CONGRATULATIONS! 6 students honored by American Association of University Women

2916 west seattle scholars
(From left: Yuxuan Zhu, Carynia Smith, Casey Hart from WSHS; Casey Iwamoto, Sara Johnson, Lilly Truong from CSIHS. Photo by Tonna Kutner)

The photo is courtesy of the American Association of University Women‘s Seattle branch, showing six of its recent honorees, students from West Seattle and Chief Sealth International High Schools. The announcement:

Six local high-school senior girls were recently honored by the Seattle Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) for their scholarship in the areas of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. This was the 16th Annual Scholar Recognition reception, which recognizes young women scholars from high schools around the Seattle area, nominated by their teachers and counselors.

Dr. Anne Goodchild, UW Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering was the keynote speaker for the event, held at the Best Western Plus Executive Inn in Seattle on the evening of Wednesday, April 27.

From West Seattle High School: Yuxuan Zhu (Mathematics), Carynia Smith (Science), and Casey Hart (Technology).

From Chief Sealth High School: Sara Johnson (Mathematics), Casey Iwamoto (Science), and Lilly Truong (Technology).

AAUW is a national organization which advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

VIDEO: West Seattle Chamber’s 2016 Westside Awards honor C & P Coffee, HomeStreet Bank, WS Helpline, Dave Montoure


By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

From celebratory words about community, to concerns about the current city leadership’s attitudes toward business, much was said at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s annual Westside Awards breakfast, held this morning at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) on the downtown-facing waterfront.

(Evening update: Video clips and photos added, below)

Board chair Elizabeth Pluhta opened by explaining how the Chamber works to support local organizations. She works at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor), which with 1,000+ employees, she pointed out, is the largest employer in West Seattle. Attendees also heard from Chamber CEO Lynn Dennis.

Elected officials in attendance included City Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Port Commissioners Stephanie Bowman and John Creighton.

Those who were introduced started with the Business of the Year, C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), “sort of a landmark in West Seattle” as described by Nancy Woodland from WestSide Baby (which has a year-round diaper drive at C&P) in her introduction.

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Remembering Michael Dale Foster, 1953-2016

A memorial is planned May 15th for Mike Foster, whose family is sharing this remembrance:

Michael Dale Foster, 62, passed away in his sleep on April 19, 2016. He was born September 28, 1953, in Seattle, the eldest child of Harold and Lorraine Foster. He is survived by his parents; his brother Jeff Foster and niece Amanda; his sister Sue Foster and his nephews Matthew and Mark; and his daughter Kara Foster.

Raised in White Center, Mike attended Holy Family School, Kennedy Catholic High School, and graduated from Chief Sealth High School in 1972. Shortly after high school, Mike went to work in Saudi Arabia for Crowley Maritime. He would talk of that time as one of his greatest adventures.

He married Rebecca Connor in September of 1982 and had a daughter a year later on December 19, 1983. He would say that was his next greatest adventure: Being a dad.

They rented a house in Highland Park, Mike was friends with all his neighbors and would always have a helping hand if needed, working on bicycles, cars, or anything else in his garage. In 1996 he was divorced, but always lived near his daughter and his parents.

He worked for Sears Roebuck as a warehouseman for most of his career and recently retired from Bartell Drugs as a warehouseman.

He loved camping at Lake Trask with his family, he was constantly reading, and he would do anything for his family and friends. With a goofy grin and a big heart, he will be missed by so many.

His memorial service will be held on Sunday, May 15th, from 4-8 pm at the White Center Eagles, located at 10452 15th Ave SW. It will be a potluck event and the family asks that any donations in his name be given to the White Center Eagles.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Remembering Lola Sugia Tebelman, 1925-2016

Family and friends are remembering Lola Sugia Tebelman, who also touched many lives with her music:

Lola Sugia Tebelman, 90, died peacefully April 19, 2016 at Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle.

Lola was born July 17, 1925, in Seattle, to Assunta and Philip Sugia. She attended Franklin High School and at an early age began a career as a vocalist in many prominent Northwest bands, orchestras, and jazz combos. (Her 1960 45-rpm record “Blue Tears/ Weathervane” was recorded at the West Seattle home studio of Seattle’s then-top audio engineer, Joe Boles, on Admiral Way in West Seattle.)

In later years, she attended business school and worked at the University of Washington until she retired.

Lola touched many lives with her presence, her creativity, her talent and her love of family. She enjoyed opera, jazz and classical music, fine arts, gardening, Italian cooking, journalism, reading non-fiction, writing plays, stories, and lyrics. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren brought a special joy to her life!

She is survived by her two daughters, Maia Santell and Pamela Tebelman; her granddaughters, Mikela Aramburu, Gina Aramburu, and Lisa Tebelman; two great-granddaughters; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws.

At her request no service will be held. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 97353, Tacoma, WA 98497.

In lieu of flowers, to honor Lola’s end-of life wishes, a memorial-gift donation to Seattle Area Feline Rescue would be a lovely expression, as she was an avid cat lover and animal-rights activist.

Please share memories and condolences on our online guestbook for Lola.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

VIDEO: Finally, a West Seattle tribute to Frances Farmer


As Easy Street Records proprietor Matt Vaughan told a gathering in his café this morning, it’s just “ridiculous” that West Seattle has been without a permanent tribute to, and bearing the name of, Frances Farmer, the brilliant and beautiful WSHS graduate who became famous and infamous in Hollywood decades ago. He’s finally fixed that omission with this:


He dedicated that star just inside the Easy Street Café entrance this morning, also recalling Frances Farmer as not just an actress but also as an outspoken woman in a time when females were not supposed to speak out.

(Update: Here’s video of Vaughan’s remarks.)

The star, Vaughan said, was supposed to be in the sidewalk outside the shop, but that didn’t work out due to “politics,” so its place of honor is on private property inside his business. (Ms. Farmer died of cancer in 1970, just 56 years old, and is buried in Indiana.)

MYSTERY: West Seattleite hopes to reunite this photo with its subjects’ family


Ron Tjerandsen would love to give this photo to the family of the people in the photo. Here’s how he found it:

I was sorting through a stack of old photos of my family – Tjerandsen – which has been in West Seattle since 1906 when my grandfather, Jacob “Jack” Tjerandsen, and his brothers set up the Maritime Engine and Boat Works on the banks of the Duwamish River just north of the “low” bridge out of West Seattle. I happened on the [photo above] and looked at the reverse and all that was written there – in my aunt’s handwriting (Bernice Tjerandsen Gravem) – was the following:

Mary and Martin Haug
West Seattle
Hinds Street

The Tjerandsens belonged to the Norwegian Lutheran Church in West Seattle whose name was later changed to the First Lutheran Church, now situated on California Avenue, just north of the Junction. That may be a place to start to try to find out who the Haugs were – there may be records in their vault. The photo is in perfect shape and as mentioned initially – since the subjects mean nothing to me – I will release it to anyone who turns up from the family.

Might that be you? E-mail Ron at ron.tjerandsen@gmail.com – and let us know how it turns out!

Celebration of life on Friday for Joseph C. Harris, 1940-2016

Family and friends will gather this Friday to celebrate the life of Joseph C. Harris. Here’s the remembrance that’s being shared today:

Joseph Claude Harris, age 75, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on April 16th. He is survived by his wife Sue, his children Sean (Courtney Harris-Campf), Colleen, Becky (RJ Masters), Marianne (Patrick McGah), and CJ, 5 granddaughters, and his brother, John Harris.

Joe was born and raised in West Seattle, attended Holy Rosary School, O’Dea High School, and Maryknoll Seminary. He later earned an MBA from City University. Joe and Sue met through their work with the CYO Summer Camps and after their wedding they lived as the caretakers at Camp Cabrini.

Joe was a proud father to his five children, often driving kids around the city for activities, teaching them to play cribbage, and supporting them in their endeavors. He devoted many years of service to the Catholic Church in parish ministry, school and parish finances, and researching demographics of the Church around the country. Joe was a regular volunteer at Holy Rosary, suggesting that Fr. Mallahan start the endowment fund, serving on various committees, and helping with the plans for Lanigan Gym. Joe loved running, biking, hiking, and playing basketball. He will be greatly missed.

The celebration of his life will be at Holy Rosary Church on Friday, April 22nd at 6:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fr. Mallahan Endowment Fund at Holy Rosary School.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

VIDEO: Ride for Major Taylor

(WSB video and photos)

Great day for a bike ride, and this is a big one – Cascade Bicycle Club‘s second annual Ride for Major Taylor. Our video shows the riders taking off from Chief Sealth International High School this morning – after, of course, photo ops!



(Above: Don Brubeck, president of West Seattle Bike Connections)

It’s a fundraiser for the Major Taylor Project, a youth-development program serving hundreds of middle- and high-school-age students at schools including Sealth and adjacent Denny International Middle School. The namesake and inspiration is Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor, the first African American cyclist to become a world champion. They’re riding through South King County – not a race, but a 24-mile ride – and the official finish line is Big Al Brewing in White Center.

WEDNESDAY: Local underwater-robotics trio AMNO & CO. at White House Science Fair!

(2015 AMNO & CO. photo – from left, Nicholas Orndorff, Clara Orndorff, Alex Miller)

Tomorrow morning, you can watch live online as the next White House Science Fair celebrates young achievers from our area – AMNO & CO., the underwater-robotics team of Clara Orndorff, 19; Nicholas Orndorff, 16; and Alex Miller, 17. We’ve reported on their success several times in the past few years – including this international-competition win last summer – but it doesn’t get much bigger than a trip to the White House. AMNO & CO. will be part of President Obama’s sixth and final White House Science Fair starting at 11:15 am our time on Wednesday – see the list of participants from all over the country, here.

City Council vote Monday for Parks Board appointees with West Seattle ties

The City Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow afternoon on two new members of the city Board of Park Commissioners, both with West Seattle ties, both introduced during the committee meeting we were at last Thursday because of the tree-cutting discussion. First on the agenda will be Evan Hundley (WSB photo at right). Hundley is head of school at Explorer West Middle School (WSB sponsor), just east of Arbor Heights. And he is the son of Walt Hundley, the namesake of High Point’s sprawling playfields and former Seattle Parks Superintendent and city budget director, as well as civil-rights advocacy. Evan Hundley told councilmembers on Thursday that he has been following parks issues since junior high. City Council president Bruce Harrell recalled Hundley’s father as “a phenomenal leader … and now (this appointment) is a chance to revisit his legacy.” Hundley has led Explorer West since 2007, continuing an education career that goes back more than 20 years.

Also scheduled for a City Council appointment vote tomorrow is Kelly McCaffrey, a West Seattle resident. She told councilmembers at Thursday’s committee meeting that she feels a lot of pride in Seattle parks and visits them often with her children and her dogs. She currently serves on the city’s Water Systems Advisory Committee and previously was on the Park District Oversight Committee.

Assuming their appointments are approved tomorrow, they will join the 9-member Parks Board – a voluntary advisory board that considers issues and policies and makes recommendations to city leaders – starting with its meeting next Thursday; see the agenda here.

CONGRATULATIONS! ‘Diver Laura’ joins Women Divers Hall of Fame


Congratulations to “Diver Laura” James (top right in the photo above) for her recent induction into the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She explains, “WDHOF honors the contributions of women in diving, but more importantly, gives back through its burgeoning scholarship and mentorship programs. If you know of a student who needs some support, have them check out these ocean programs at wdhof.org Congrats to my Sea Sisters Chantelle Taylor-Newman, Dawn Kernagis, Patti Kirk Gross, Cody Unser, and Ruth Petzold.” While we’ve been reporting on her projects for the past few years, Laura’s undersea achievements go back much further – more than 20 years! We asked her for some highlights, and she mentioned “helping organize the first non-commercial, non-military team to visit 3 of our local deep shipwrecks in the early ’90s: the Al-Ind-Eska Sea, the Bunker Hill, and the AJ Fuller – yes, making me the first woman on them – and owning/operating the first extended range diving shop north of California.” What’s she working on next? Narrated live undersea streaming!

Remembering Dr. Catherine Ann Orsi, 1958-2016

A memorial service is planned April 30th for Dr. Catherine Ann Orsi, whose many achievements included serving West Seattle as a naturopathic doctor. Here’s the remembrance family and friends are sharing:

Catherine Ann Orsi passed away peacefully with family by her side on March 14, 2016, after fighting a brave five-year battle with brain cancer.

Conceived in her father’s native homeland of Italy, but born in Corvallis, Oregon on March 9, 1958, she was the first child of Vincenzo and Margaret (Atwood) Orsi. She is survived by her mother, Margaret, her siblings; Lewis, (Kathy), Barbara, and Stephen, her nephew, Nick, her niece, Kate, and her ex-husband, Chelo Winfred Schal. Her beloved father, Vincenzo, preceded her in death in 1972, and her American grandparents Hulda and Harlow Atwood, and her Italian grandparents Luigi and Olimpia Orsi.

Catherine grew up in Albany and Corvallis, Oregon. While attending Oregon State University, she pursued her late father’s profession, and in 1983 received a degree in civil engineering. After graduation she married fellow engineer Phillip Wurst, but were divorced after a few years. Her engineering career started with the U.S. Forest Service in Ashland, Oregon. Later she accepted an engineering position for City Light, in Seattle, working on landfill-closure projects. She was one of the few women in that field at the time.

Through mutual friends, Catherine met and married Chelo Winfred Schal in 1995. They made several trips to Europe visiting his family in Germany, her family in Italy, and explored her maternal roots in Finland. Catherine and Chelo divorced in 2005, but remained lasting friends.

With a lifelong interest in scuba diving, Catherine was a volunteer diver at the Seattle Aquarium for over 18 years. Her other aquatic pursuits included sailing, kayaking, and swimming. She dreamed of becoming a mermaid.

During a period of illness, she became disenfranchised with Western Medicine and sought help through naturopathy. This journey led to her midlife career change. She enrolled at Bastyr University, where she received her Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree in 2003. She opened her own practice in her beloved West Seattle, serving many local clients. Catherine maintained her medical practice until being stricken with cancer in the spring of 2011. Many of her clients, business associates, and friends in West Seattle remember her passionate and thorough attention to detail in her practice through her participation in a local chapter of BNI (Business Network International).

Proud of her Italian-American heritage, she obtained dual citizenship, volunteering for many years with the Festa Italiana celebration. She remained active in the Italian-American Association, and was a devoted member of her church, Plymouth United Church of Christ Congregational in Seattle.

After developing cancer and despite significant obstacles, Catherine filled her intervening years with love, many joyful activities, and personal connections with family, friends, clients, including many here in West Seattle. Although she was unable to continue her Naturopathy practice, she forged on with her connection to, and advocacy for a life of healing through support groups, online communities, and friends until her death.

One of her favorite activities was dancing in her many colorful outfits. It was while walking to a dance class on December 22, 2015, when she fell from brain cancer. It is her joyful and passionate pursuit in the beauty of colorful dance, and aquatic life that is how we will remember her. Dancing and grooving at the least provocation.

Her memorial service is planned at 1 pm Saturday, April 30th, at Plymouth United Church of Christ, and is open to the public. In lieu of flowers, her family requests offerings be directed to her remembrance project. People can donate on PayPal using catherineremembranceproject@gmail.com, or mail checks to “Catherine Remembrance Project” care of Lew Orsi, 10617 NE 30th Ave, Vancouver, WA 98686

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Memorial tomorrow for Marie Loken, 1922-2016

Family and friends will gather tomorrow at The Mount to remember Marie Loken. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing:

Our beloved mother Marie M. Loken passed away on March 26, 2016 at the age of 93. She was born on August 22, 1922 in Seattle to Charles and Marie McIntosh. Mom was the eldest of three sisters and spent her youth in Ballard and spent many a Sunday on her grandparents’ farm on Vashon Island. She was a 1941 graduate of Holy Angels High School, where she received a diploma from Holy Angels Academy School of Music in addition to her high school diploma. At 17, Mom could play concert level piano pieces and never lost her love of playing her piano. After high school, she worked at Federal Way High School as a secretary and then worked as a typesetter for Sears Roebuck catalogue department in the old Sears building on 1st Avenue. Shortly before World War II, she met the love of her life, Roger, at a local dance school. They wrote to each other throughout the war, and while he was overseas he asked her to marry him. 69 years later they were still together until his death last year.

She moved to Kettle Falls to help Roger embark on his teaching career. While they were building a house, Marie endured harsh winters and summers raising her babies, all born about a year apart. She returned to Seattle in 1958 and resided in West Seattle for her remaining years. After raising her six children she returned to Sears and worked as a typesetter with the same people that she had worked with when she was 19. Through the years Marie was Roger’s right hand and greatest supporter through his teaching and real estate endeavors. Mom loved to travel and she took trips with her husband and family to Europe and Hawaii and the Oregon Coast. Reading mysteries and watching her classic movies were some of her favorite pastimes. When it came to gardening, she could grow anything from a cutting. In her younger years, she was an avid bowler, bowling a 300 at one point. The last of the great card senders, she maintained correspondence with her friends from Kettle Falls for over 60 years and never let a holiday or birthday go by without sending a card. She was a Red Cross Volunteer and a longtime member of Holy Rosary and Guadalupe parishes.

She is preceded in death by her husband Roger and her grandson Mac Branom. She leaves behind her six children: David Loken of Everett; Joan Perryman of New Mexico; Catherine Hunter of Des Moines, WA; Robert Loken of Seattle; Roberta Jackowski of Seattle; and Karen Coffey of Portland; 10 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. Services will be held at 9:30 am on April 7th at Mount St. Vincent Chapel. Graveside services will be held at Holyrood Catholic Cemetery. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Services – West Seattle. Please share memories of Marie on our online guestbook.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

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